Centennial notches sixth straight title in Sunset; Coronado tops in Sunrise

Centennial has dominated the Sunset Region boys cross country meet so much that its score the past three years was less than half of the nearest competitor.

That dominance continued Friday, as the Bulldogs scored 33 points to outscore Shadow Ridge (71) and Palo Verde (98). All three teams qualified for state.

“These guys were great,” Centennial coach Mike McGuire said. “I’m real proud of them. That’s six (region) championships in a row. Jackson (Carter) was great. He really sucked it up. And it was the best race George (Espino) has run all year. He’s back. Things couldn’t be working out better for us for next week.”

Carter (16 minutes, 48.0 seconds) and teammate Dajour Braxton (16:52.0), a transfer from Louisiana, turned in the day’s two fastest times. The cold, blustery conditions over the 3.1-mile course at Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder City resulted in slower times in all the boys Division I races, which were run first.

“The wind sucked,” Carter said. “But it was a good race. I was able to break away on the downhill (half mile to go). I just tried to hold my pace. It was great. The team ran great.”

Shadow Ridge’s Nick Oberdin (16:59.0) and David Peters (17:09.1) finished third and fourth, with Espino (17:23.5) fifth.

Also qualifying for state Nov. 3 at Veterans Memorial Park were Desert Oasis’ Frankie Martinez, Durango’s Sami Mesgun, Cimarron-Memorial’s Seth Wright, Bonanza’s Robert Rudd and Arbor View’s Cole Jones.

On the Sunrise side, Coronado’s boys also dominated their opponents, scoring 38 points to Green Valley’s 96 and Foothill’s 105.

The Cougars placed all five scoring runners in the top 11 and all seven in the top 14. Alan Ekanger was the team’s top individual, placing third.

“The times weren’t that fast,” Coronado coach Mark Tondryk said. “But our seniors were ready to go. They ran well. Our spread was good, probably under a minute. Now we’ve got to do it next week.”

The individual race belonged to Eldorado’s Eddie Esquivel (17:02.0), who led all the way. Foothill’s Brian Marshall (17:16.2) was second, followed by Ekanger (17:24.3), Liberty’s Colin Schultz (17:29.3) and Basic’s Nick Pinto (17:35.7).

Esquivel, Schultz and Pinto will go to state as individual qualifiers, along with Rancho’s Noal Mohamud and Silverado’s Jonathan Aman.

The Division I-A Southern Region race and the battle for the three spots at state turned out to be closer than expected.

Favored Tech won – but barely. Its No. 1 runner, Martin Ponce, led for much of the race but took a spill at the midpoint and was aided to his feet by a spectator, which resulted in his disqualification.

Tech finished with 72 points, followed by Clark (74) and Boulder City (87).

“I’m amazed that they won,” Tech coach Tony Kyriacou said. “Martin getting (disqualified) was the icing on a deflated cake. And they still made it. It speaks to the depth that we have.”

The Roadrunners didn’t have a top-five finisher.

With Ponce out of the race, Clark’s Mucuranyana Amon (17:29.3) and teammate Flimon Fre (17:45.3) finished first and second. Boulder City’s Chandler Harkins (17:55.7) and Faith Lutheran’s Chase Wood (17:57.0) and Alesio Rios (18:01.5) rounded out the top five.

“The first mile was fast,” Amon said. “(Ponce) was testing me. I was able to break away at the second mile.”

West Wendover won the Division III race with 29 points. Lincoln County (45) also qualified for state.

Lincoln County’s Cameron Frehner (18:18.5) was the individual winner. Other individual qualifiers were Laughlin’s Trayvon Mack and Josh Yepez and Indian Springs’ Daniel Highfield.

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